Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

  • Even then he was the most striking figure in Starkfield, though he was but the ruin of a man
  • During the early part of my stay I had been struck by the contrast between the vitality of the climate and the deadness of the community1310f5af5778ab59e6d8e4aeeca9c2b3.320x480x1
  • I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access
  • Once or twice in the past he had been faintly disquieted by Zenobia’s way of letting things happen without seeming to remark them, and then, weeks afterward, in a casual phrase, revealing that she had all along taken her notes and drawn her inferences
  • These alterations of mood were the despair and joy of Ethan Frome. The motions of her mind were as incalculable as the flit of a bird in the branches
  • Now he thought she understood him, and feared; now he was sure she did not, and despaired
  • Though she was but seven years her husband’s senior, and he was only twenty-eight, she was already an old woman.
  • By nature grave and inarticulate, he admired recklessness and gaiety in others and was warmed to the marrow by friendly human intercourse
  •  When she spoke it was only to complain, and to complain of things not in his power to remedy; and to check a tendency to impatient retort he had first formed the habit of not answering her, and finally of thinking of other things while she talked.
  • Through the obscurity which hid their faces their thoughts seemed to dart at each other like serpents shooting venom. Ethan was seized with horror of the scene and shame at his own share in it. It was as senseless and savage as a physical fight between two enemies in the darkness
  • Now she had mastered him and he abhorred her.
  • It was the first time that Mattie had ever written to him, and the possession of the paper gave him a strange new sense of her nearness; yet it deepened his anguish by reminding him that henceforth they would have no other way of communicating with each other. For the life of her smile, the warmth of her voice, only cold paper and dead words!
  • If I missed my train where’d I go?” “Where are you going if you catch it?”
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